We organised a focus group with students in the university and asked them about far-right extremism, hate crime and our campaign. Very early on into the focus group one participant said “well, extremism is something that I’ve really started to notice“.
One prominent theme that emerged during the focus group was the prominence of far-right extremism online: “You can especially see it online” and “Seen a lot of it online“.
- We showed the focus group our video campaign and website and asked them if they learned anything new:
“The statistics were definitely higher than I was expecting.”
- We found that the majority of the participants did not feel comfortable reporting hate crime and far-right extremism in real life, but more so online:
“I also think another dynamic that encourages me to report more on Facebook is that the person I am reporting doesn’t know that I am reporting them. That level of anonymity and protection for me makes me more likely to get involved in a situation. Whereas if I was to witness or experience something in real life, there is a chance that the person doing that act would know or recognise me and that brings it too close to home… So, I’m less likely to report things in real life. There is no barrier between them and you. There is no protection really as far as I can see that’s why I’m more likely to report online than in real life“.
“If there were a way that you could report online, anonymously a crime that you’ve witnessed, the location of it, to either the police or council…”
- We asked the participants what they thought of our video campaign and website:
“I think on the whole the website looks good and I like the video”.
- We asked the participants if they had a keyring with details on it of how to report a hate crime, would they be more likely to report it:
“Yeah, if I saw a crime I’d be like oh I know how to report it and whip out my keys and there it would be. I think it would make me more likely to”.
“I think a key ring wouldn’t be a bad idea. Also I think getting the idea into everyone’s culture is important. A physical reminder, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a key ring, could be a t-shirt or a wrist band”.
- We learned a lot from this focus group and so did our participants. They learned new ways to report hate crime and we decided to go ahead and create keyrings with how to report hate crime and far-right extremism and give them out to students on campus.